Fans in costume:
This was a poster advertising free giveaways at the Collectors panels. There were 16 panels over the 4 days, and at each panel you could get one of these novelty Star Wars boxes of cereal. My personal favorite was the Wookie Crisp:
Blue Milk ice cream. I simply couldn't resist :
There was a highly entertaining Robot Chicken panel. Here we got to see, for the first time, the trailer for Robot Chicken Star Wars III, coming to DVD in December.
From left to right, Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matthew Seinreich, some dude who works with them, and Joey Fatone (for some unknown reason ):
Seth Green also told us a little about the upcoming animated series he was hired by Lucas to produce with Seinreich, coming in a year or two:
Disney had a large presence at the event. Here's a toy diorama they had on display to advertise the Last Tour to Endor event:
The Disney booth had a nice tribute to the 30th anniversary of Empire:
The massive line for the Main Event on Saturday (George Lucas interviewed by Jon Stewart) started on Friday night at 8pm. It worked like this: There was the main theater where the event would be held, which could seat about 2600 people. Then there were several supplemental theaters used for other panels which had screens. They would simulcast the event in these rooms, which could seat an additional 5,000 or so people. So those first in line would get wristbands distributed for the main stage. Then wristbands get distributed for the simulcast rooms. I personally wasn't down with sitting outside all night in Orlando in August, so my plan was to head up there at 5am and at least secure a spot in one of the simulcast rooms. My timing couldn't have been more perfect. When they started giving out wristbands at 6am, my girl and I were among the very last group of 20 people to receive bands for the main stage with Lucas! I couldn't believe our luck. Once we had our wristbands, we were guided to a massive empty hall of the convention center where we set up camp for the next 5 hours waiting to be let into the theater.
After so many hours of anticipation, we were finally seated for the show.
Stormtroopers come out to secure the room for Lucas' entrance:
Host Jon Stewart comes out and greets the crowd first. "I want to thank the organizers of this event for holding it in Central Florida in the middle of August. I guess they were wanting to recreate the actual atmospheric conditions on Dagobah." Not only is he an amazing interviewer and hilarious host, he actually is a Star Wars nerd!
And then, the place absolutely erupts:
The standing ovation goes on for several minutes:
Finally the crowd settles in, and we begin an amazing interview. Jon Stewart was perfect for this. He was funny, thoughtful, asked great questions, and knew what he was talking about when it came to Star Wars. He and Lucas had a great rapport.
R2 comes out to present Jon Stewart with a special edition Star Wars action figure Lucas had made for him. The character was called Stewjon.
Then came the bomb drop we've been waiting for. The house erupted again.
To the crowd's surprise, they suddenly brought out Mark Hamill to help with the details of the Blu Ray release of the saga, coming in 2011.
Hamill gave us a huge treat in addition -- a never before lost scene from Return of the Jedi that would be included on the Blu Ray. This scene was originally intended to open the film. It shows Luke on his home world in seclusion as he's privately completing his Jedi training. Here are some screen shots of it, where he's assembling his iconic green lightsaber seen in the film (since the one he used in the previous flicks was lost when Vader cut off his hand at the end of Empire).
Then they surprised us yet again by bringing out Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia). Carrie is absolutely hilarious, very entertaining.
Between all the elements seen in this shot, all I could think was: I can die now.
Then they wrapped it up. I'll never forget this day
More to come tomorrow night, including my trip to Last Tour to Endor and the majority of my shots from the actual exhibit floor........